The cheapest plans are not always the best for your beloved companion. We’ll tell you how to shop to find the right insurance plans for your pooch.
Your fur baby is more than just a pet, they’re your family. As part of your family, you want to ensure that all their needs, including their health, are met and provided. We know that vet care often comes at a high cost, most especially when you deal with an accident or a life-threatening disease. Pet insurance is one way for pet owners to lessen the financial burden when they’re met with high vet bills unexpectedly.
There are tons of pet insurance providers offering different kinds of plans. When you’re looking for the best insurance plan for your pet, it doesn’t always mean that you have to go with the cheapest plans. Here’s what you need to look out for to find the right insurance for your pet.
To start with, it’s essential for all pet owners to get an understanding of the typical coverage offered by insurance plans. There are plans available that only cover accidents but many providers offer plans that cover both accidents and illnesses.
Accident and illness plans cover a wide range of medical conditions, both minor and major, and injuries that result from accidents. Although there may be differences between each insurance provider, you can expect an accident and illness plan to provide coverage for:
• X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs
• Digestive problems
• Toxic ingestion
• Fractured bones
• Urinary tract infections
• Ear infections
• Chronic conditions
• Prescription medications
• Chiropractic care
A lot of pet insurance providers also offer optional coverage for wellness and routine care. Keeping your furry companion healthy can be expensive from their annual vaccines to preventing ticks and fleas.
The annual coverage limit of your plan will determine how much the insurance provider will pay each year in claims. Some providers such as Nationwide do not have limits for their plans. Other insurance companies will offer several options for coverage limits. The higher the annual limits, the higher the premiums get.
Let’s take Embrace Pet Insurance as an example. They offer coverage limits starting from $5,000 and up to $30,000 annually. If your claims exceed your plans’ coverage limits, you will be responsible for any expenses that go beyond that limit.
To find out which coverage limit is best suited for your dog, take note of the age, personality, and breed. If you have a puppy that likes to go out and play, it might be more susceptible to accidents and injuries. If you have a dog starting to age, you might be more concerned about age-related conditions like arthritis. Evaluating your dog’s illness and injury susceptibility is a good starting point in choosing a coverage limit.
You’ve heard of deductibles before since your insurance plan would have them. For pet insurance, deductibles work the same way. Deductibles are the amount that you need to pay before the policy starts to reimburse your vet expenses.
Several insurance providers also allow you to select your deductibles. The ASPCA’s insurance plan offers three options for deductibles – $500, $200, and $100. Most deductibles are set annually but other providers may offer a different arrangement such as Trupanion which sets per-condition deductibles.
If you find a per-condition deductible, you need to pay that deductible each time your dog visits the vet regarding a new condition. The per-condition deductible can be beneficial for dogs that only have one or two conditions that require vet care. But if your dog has various reasons to go to the bet, it’s better for you to get a plan with an annual deductible.
The third factor you need to decide on is your reimbursement level which is the percentage of reimbursement when your claims are accepted. Insurance providers usually offer 70% to 90% reimbursement. If you choose a higher reimbursement level, it means you’ll have smaller out-of-pocket expenses in terms of vet bills. There are also pet insurance providers such as Figo that offer a 100% reimbursement option.
When you choose lower reimbursement levels, you need to ensure that you save enough money to cover an expensive condition. If you lack the financial capacity to pay for a huge portion of vet bills, you’ll more likely benefit from higher reimbursement levels. However, take note that you will need to pay higher premiums when you have a higher reimbursement percentage.
Another factor that affects the cost of your pet’s insurance is their breed. Heavier and bigger dogs usually have higher premiums. For dogs, the most expensive breeds in terms of insurance are Mastiffs, Dalmatians, pit bulls, Bulldogs, and Dobermans.
Find a trustworthy company
There are several new companies that offer pet insurance. Make sure that you sign up with a provider with a solid track record that you can trust. You want a provider that can make sure your pet’s healthcare needs are taken care of.
It will only take you a couple of minutes to get a quote for your pet. Once you have an idea of what type of plan you need and companies that you find trustworthy, get quotes from your choices to find which one suits your pet the best.
Consider your dog’s habits and lifestyle
If your dog is active and regularly goes outside, they have a higher chance of sustaining an injury. When such a case occurs, you might wish that you opted for the maximum coverage instead.
Take note of waiting periods
Every insurance plan has a waiting period before its coverage starts. Waiting periods vary for each provider and also by the plan. Normally, there are different waiting periods for accidents and illnesses. Choosing a company with shorter waiting periods is advantageous since you can never guess when your pet will fall sick or get into an accident.
There are also extended waiting periods for certain conditions such as hip dysplasia. It’s best if you find an insurance provider that does not have extended waiting periods.
Look for providers with 24/7 hotlines
Some insurance providers step up their game by offering a 24/7 vet hotline. You can get access to a licensed vet any time of day which proves worth the money when your pet starts to feel unwell in the middle of the night.
Think about your budget
Choose an insurance plan that you can commit to given your current financial capability. You don’t want to pay premiums on a plan that you’ll, later on, drop because you can no longer afford it. Determine how much you want to spend and how much the policy covers. Insurance providers offer different options for reimbursement levels and deductibles so you will likely find one that fits your budget. It’s important that you select an insurance plan that you can afford to pay for in the long term. When you select a plan with higher deductibles and lower reimbursement levels, you can get lower monthly premiums.
You should also search for a plan that covers exam fees. Some providers will cover exam fees for accidents and illnesses while others will cover the treatment only.
Look for discounts
When you have several pets at home, look for providers that offer discounts when you enroll multiple pets in an insurance plan.